A major narcotics investigation has led to the indictment of 74 individuals who authorities believe are members of a drug and weapons trafficking organization that distributed illegal firearms and significant quantities of methamphetamine throughout southwest Virginia. Police believe that the organization’s reach stretched from bases in Mouth of Wilson and Whitetop in Grayson County to parts of Smyth, Roanoke and Washington counties in Virginia and Alleghany and Ashe counties in North Carolina.
During the course of the drug trafficking investigation, officers, deputies and agents gathered evidence by conducting undercover drug buys, executing search warrants, interviewing suspects and keeping individuals of interest under surveillance. These efforts led to the seizure of drugs, guns and stolen property and the identification of dozens of suspects.
On Oct. 25, a grand jury convened in Grayson County issued more than 100 indictments. Eleven of the indicted individuals have already been apprehended according to media reports. The remaining indictments are likely to remain sealed until the defendants have been taken into custody. The suspects apprehended so far face charges including drug possession, possession of stolen property, conspiracy to distribute drugs, breaking and entering and welfare fraud. The case was investigated by the Twin County Drug Task Force, the Grayson County Sheriff’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Law enforcement often casts a wide net when conducting this kind of drug sweep, but the evidence gathered during these investigations is not always comprehensive enough to prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt against every one of the suspects taken into custody. When their clients are apprehended in the course of such an operation, experienced criminal defense attorneys may advise them to remain silent until the evidence against them has been evaluated. When the evidence is strong, attorneys could suggest entering into a negotiated plea agreement. If the evidence seems lacking, attorneys may seek to have drug charges dismissed.